Any bicycle found locked to a handrail or ramp blocking an entrance or exit to a building will have its lock cut and the bicycle confiscated, according to an all-campus e-mail on Sept. 24.
“We wanted to make sure students were aware [of the policy],” said Jeff Miller, associate director of Facilities.
According to Miller, the offending bikes are removed and stored at the Physical Plant offices on Long Lane until students come to claim them. The bikes are then donated to various local organizations if unclaimed by the end of the year.
The University fire code requires that there be free and unimpeded access to the building. According to Miller, bikes that clearly block entrances and emergency exits to buildings and those that prevent the use of handrails for students with disabilities pose a hazard during emergencies. Bikes that are illegally locked to structures such as lampposts, however, will instead likely receive a warning sticker from Public Safety.
“A written policy has become necessary because, despite best efforts to provide conveniently located bike racks, the practice of locking bikes to handrails continues,” said Cliff Ashton, director of Physical Plant. “We often see bikes locked to handrails within 30 feet of an empty bike rack.”
Some students, however, like Henry Kiely ’11, disagree with Ashton.
“They need to invest in more bike stands,” Kiely said. “It’s impossible. What happens is people resort to locking them to less sturdy things. [The rule] is understandable but there needs to be an alternative—more bike racks.”
Others claim it is laziness, rather than lack of resources, that has led to illegally parked bikes.
“There are bike racks everywhere,” said Sam Long ’12. “Don’t be so lazy.”
The Physical Plant budget for the 2009-2010 academic year has approved the purchase of new bike racks that will be installed in 2009. This fall has already seen the placement of a new bike rack behind Judd Hall as well as one near a program house.
“Bike racks are, and continue to be, provided in many locations, convenient to classroom, dorms, Campus Center, and other buildings,” Ashton said. “However, in spite of best efforts to provide bike racks, locking of bikes to handrails continues.”
While the confiscation policy is not new this academic year, the e-mail reminder reignited frustration among students about the policy and what they feel is an overall lack of bike racks on campus.
“I live in a program house,” said Rachel Shopper ’10. “We have eight bikes and they won’t give us a bike rack. Bikes get stolen a lot in Middletown. We have to lock them to something.”